NYPD officer arrested, charged with spying for Chinese government

Clay Curtis
September 22, 2020

A New York City Police Department officer has been charged with acting as an illegal agent for China.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of NY announced that Officer Baimadajie Angwang, 33, was arrested for "acting as an illegal agent of the People's Republic of China as well as committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding".

Prosecutors say Angwang, a naturalised U.S. citizen who was born in China, has acted as an agent of that country's government since at least 2014.

According to prosecutors, Angwang is also employed by the US Army Reserve, working as a civil affairs specialist.

Investigators also detailed Angwang's ties to China, revealing that his father is a retired member of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and a communist party member. It says he was secretly supervised by handlers from the Chinese consulate in NY. After first connecting with this member of the "China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture" in 2014, Angwang "reported on the activities of ethnic Tibetans", the complaint continues. As an Army reservist, he had "secret" security clearance.

Aside from reporting on Tibetans in the city, he allegedly provided the consulate with access to senior NYPD officials through invitations to official events.

Authorities said he "initially traveled to the United States on a cultural exchange visa".

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Angwang, who is ethnically Tibetan, had been given asylum in the United States after overstaying a visa and claiming that he'd been arrested and tortured by China "due partly to his Tibetan ethnicity", according to the criminal complaint.

A month later, Angwang reportedly wired $50,000 from a different USA bank account to a PRC account held in the name of another individual.

Angwang is also accused of committing wire fraud, making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding.

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Angwang "violated every oath he took in this country". As a result, he faces up to 55 years in prison if convicted.

"From the earliest stages of this investigation, the NYPD's Intelligence and Internal Affairs bureaus worked closely with the FBI's Counterintelligence Division to make sure this individual would be brought to justice".

The identity of the lawyer representing Angwang was not immediately known.

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